by: Scott Lodder [ ]
Rain Down the Drain
Recently I did an in-box review of 135th Construction Battalions Drain Pipe Fittings (medium) #CO 0101 and their Plumbing Fixtures (medium) #CO 0096. This review is the built review of those pipes. I had started a building to review another 135th Construction Battalions product and these pieces dropped right into the same project. The fact that I could drop three products into one project is a statement to 135th Construction Battalions commitment to filling many different needs of a diorama builder. In light of this cohesiveness and apparent interoperability of 135th Construction Battalions products I added the Plumbing Fixtures kit into the mix.
I did not want to scratch build a ½ circle gutter for my building. The building is a large building with stone accents. I went with a built in gutter leaving me to make a connection of the drain pipes and the gutter piece. Then mix and match the different angles of the connectors to get a good fit along the contour of my building.
I planned on trying a number of different parts to achieve a nice look. I also wanted to remove a number of pieces from the blocks to get the best overall feel for the kit. In addition I knew I didn’t have enough straight pipe to cover a three story building so there would be some scratch building involved too.
Removing the pieces from their resin blocks was no big deal. I used a motor tool to do the major removal then a bit of sandpaper and file to get the rest of the excess resin off.
The end pieces cleaned up quickly and nicely with no problems at all. The resin is a soft easy to work with version. I enjoy working with it quite a lot.
When I removed the resin block from the long straight pipe I was greeted by bubbles. Dreaded resin bubble! The piece was fixable with a bit of putty and another round of sanding. This was a small setback in time, nothing more than that.
I ‘eyeballed’ the pieces I would need and cut out the shallow end connectors, the straight pipes, the steeper angles, and the shallow long connector pieces. I dry fit them together to get an idea of which ones would work best. This was a bit finicky. It was a bit difficult to hold three small resin pieces in three dimensions. I went with a very small touch of CA to tack the pieces together while I figured out the best combination of curves to get a good match. The CA was easy enough to snap apart and sand down when the look wasn’t quite right.
I ended up using two of the shallow bend long end connectors to get a shallow “S” shape at the top where the pipe comes out of the gutter and then runs against the wall. I used the straight pipe then another straight connector then more straight pipe and at the bottom I have a barrel detail planned so I went with a Y connector.
When I ran out the kits straight pipe I used EverGreen rod styrene as a substitute. It worked pretty well. There was a very slight difference in diameter, something in the neighborhood of .25mm difference. This was not a big deal because it was very hard to notice.
Assembly was really dry fit plus glue in this case. There was no re-work or any different considerations to make. I used some CA and glued the pieces together one stage at a time. I started at the top and worked my way down the pipes.
The Drain Pipe Fittings and the Plumbing Fixtures worked adequately together. There was a slight size difference. If these pieces were going to be the centerpiece of a diorama you definitely want to take this into account. In my application it was no problem what so ever. The very small difference didn’t create a problem and I could (and did) easily mask the joints with connector straps. The connector straps function is to hold the pipe to the wall and I strategically located them at the joints.
In doing research on drain pipes I saw all kinds of materials used, copper, steel, stone, to name three. I wanted a bit of a different, bolder statement with these parts so I was looking for a new metallic look. I brush painted Tamiya gun metal as a base coat. When that dried, I ‘moist’ brushed Testors Brass over the base. “Moist” brushing is a hybrid of regular painting and dry brushing. I dip the brush in paint, then remove most of the excess. I don’t remove as much as with dry brushing though. I then dip the paint into a small container of thinner. I don’t touch the sides of the container or remove any paint. I simply load the brush with a bit of thinner. I then brush this on the part. It creates a thin coat of paint or a thick wash depending on your point of view. Either way a lot of the base coat will show through and that’s what I was going after.
The resin took Tamiya paint very well and was easy to paint.
The connectors are golden and worth the price of the kit. They work well together and are easy to work with. The bubbles in the straight pipe aren’t that big a deal and can be fixed or you can easily get some styrene replacements (any length you need).
The interoperability of the Drain pipes and Plumbing fixtures was definitely adequate. There are a number of kits that will give you lots of different options.